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Ford Van Pooling Commuters

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On: Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 10:18AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Van Pooling Commuters

Van Pool Services Inc. (VPSI) is a private company originally started by Chrysler to serve the transportation needs of individuals who wanted to save on fuel expense as far back as the 70s. The company was started in my stomping grounds—Minneapolis, Minnesota—and the fleet of vans providing a cheap alternative to the daily commute was so successful that the company expanded to serve cities around the nation, and is still around today.

The California Department of Transportation selected VPSI to operate the very first statewide vanpool program, only instead of using Chryslers, the fleet is comprised mostly (70% of the 5000 vehicle nationwide fleet) of Ford E-Series vans, which can achieve a whopping 150 passenger-miles per gallon each day as commuter vehicles.

According to Ford Media.com, annually, the fleet "eliminates more than 14 million commuter trips, saves more than $73 million in fuel, and reduces CO2 emissions by 259,000 tons."

Ford reports that the E-Series has been the country’s number one full-sized van for over 30 years. These top selling vehicles now transport over 40,000 commuters in the U.S. each day, with an average savings of $5,000 per year per commuter, compared with the cost of driving to work alone.

“We believe we have the most ecological Ford vehicles on the road,” said Steve Pederson, VP of Fleet Management at VPSI. Pederson was responsible for estimating the 150 passenger miles per gallon figure by "multiplying the 15 mpg achieved by Ford E-Series vans by 10 passengers. Some VPSI Ford commuter vanpools seat as many as fifteen passengers, which would result in even more impressive results," stated Pederson.

According to VPSI, "a vanpool is a group of 7 to 15 people that commutes to and from work on a regular basis.” The Van Pool Service Company provides the vehicles, a maintenance and repair program, insurance, and back-up vans. The commuters share the monthly operating expenses including fuel.

According to spokesperson for VPSI, Ford vehicles were selected because “Ford made it easy for us.” He added, “We have a great relationship with Ford Fleet, and we had an opportunity to work directly with Ford engineers who helped us get the base vehicles manufactured to our specifications directly from the factory, which helped minimize waste.”

The vans in the program have been upgraded to accommodate easy access for passengers. "The vans are very comfortable, and they make commuting time more productive because passengers can read, catch up on their work or even sleep while riding to work, instead of coping with the daily grind of traffic congestion,” said Pederson.

For commuters who are interested in inquiring about a vanpool program in a specific area, go to www.vpsi.org.

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